Black Lives Matter is consistently setback due to misinformation and misrepresentation. As a movement, BLM seeks to uplift minorities and anyone unjustly treated or prosecuted. As a result, Black Lives Matter is seen as one part of the modern civil rights movements.
Within the first few days of 2017, an incident of hatred and intentional barbarism occurred in the city of Chicago, Illinois. Four black teenagers captured, tortured and verbally assaulted a special needs white male.
The special needs teen sustained non-life threatening injuries and is said to recover. During a press conference his family spoke of the emotional damage that he is struggling with.
The victim’s grandmother told NBC Chicago news, “This is going to affect him for probably the rest of his life.”
Although the act was more than a lapse of rational processing, they didn’t stop there. These individuals live streamed their diabolical actions to Facebook, prompting reports to the police.
The fast action of the Facebook users rightfully led to their arrest and charges of a hate crime, felony aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Not only did the online video post prompt a response from the police but also many news publications and social media sites responded immediately. Most responses were condemning the heinous actions of the teens alone. However, others criticized the “Black Lives Matter” movement by claiming the teens were associated with the movement.
Multiple social media sites became flooded with people discussing the event. Individuals sharing the story and video, offering opinions and disdain with the situation as a whole.
After Twitter caught drift of the horrifying video, the hashtag #BLMKidnapping began trending. Despite the lack of concrete evidence, tweets containing this hashtag were mentioned almost half a million times.
In no shape or form am I condoning this disturbing circumstance or victimizing the four aggressors of the attack on the defenseless and unsuspecting teen. But their association with a movement looking for peace and justice for all is gravely wrong.
These type of headlines perpetuate a rhetoric that vilifies a peaceful movement that is periodically hijacked by individuals for their own benefit. This is not one of those cases, these are teens who committed a crime that deserve every bit of their punishment, but the removal of the association with BLM is imperative.
Aside from the negative publicity these articles produce, it also reduces the credibility of Black Lives Matter. While the movement may continue to persist, the support and influence could be negatively affected due to these false reports.
Mercer students are helping to promote awareness of the true purpose of BLM. There was a peace panel recently held for the MLK Day holiday and cultural sensitivity trainings.
With the effective spread of information and empathy for your fellow human, we can learn to respect each other and develop constructive solutions to our persistent issues.